Friday, August 31, 2012

Travel & Eating

Hi there! Thought I'd write a quick post on what I ate today while traveling/vacationing. Yesterday I noticed that I didn't quite keep up with eating throughout the day and was having some real "cravings" for food that night. I opted for a cheese plate from the dessert menu, which was fine and fit with my food for the day, but I was battling wanting things that I wouldn't normally crave (ice cream, bread, etc.). A reminder not to let it go too long without eating. So, today, I refocused and was back on track. Thought I'd share what it looked like.

Today was a travel day from Sao Paulo to Iguazu Falls. Not a long flight, but it involved me getting up at 4:30 AM to make the trip. Here's a breakdown of what happened food-wise.

4:30 AM: Woke up and took pills/vitamins with water (normally a protein shake)
5:00 - 5:45 AM: Cab ride, drank about 8 oz of water
6:45 AM: Ate half a protein bar waiting for the flight (Power Crunch French Vanilla - yum!)
7:30 - 9:00 AM: Flight, drank another 12 oz of water
10:00: Arrived at hotel, checked in, and made a protein shake with Syntrax Kiwi Strawberry (8 oz of water)
11:00 - 12:00: Drive from Brazil to Argentina to see the falls, drank 8 oz of water
12:00 - 1:00: About 1/8 cup of pistachios I'd brought and half a stick of beef jerky while walking around
1:00 - 4:00: Water, water, water. Think I drank another 20 oz or so.
4:00: "Just the Cheese" snacks that I'm traveling with
6:00: Took a dip by the pool and decided to eat dinner there. Wanted everything on the menu, but ultimately went with ceviche as a healthy choice
7:00 - 8:00: 8 oz of water
8:00: Protein shake (Isopure Zero Carb Vanilla) made with 8 oz of water

So, what did this require? PLANNING. I didn't need to plan out all the meals, but I needed to have food and water with me. If I hadn't, it's likely I could have tracked down water, but my meal options would have been empanadas at the market at the falls, and I would have gone most of the day without eating. Wouldn't have been pretty, particularly on a day where it was hot and I was doing a LOT of walking. I was conscious of having things in my bag, even far from home, and noshing every few hours. If I can do this, I clearly have no excuse for a crappy eating day due to unpreparedness at home. Enjoy the ceviche below!

Monday, August 27, 2012

14 Week Update

Hello from Sao Paulo with my 14 week update! As you'll hear in the video, I'm going by the hotel scale so who knows what my weight really is. But at least I've got a scale for this week so I can see if the scale is going up for any reason! Alright, let's get to it:

Surgery day: 250.4
One month 226.1
Two month: 211.8
Three month: 201.3
Week 13: 198
Week 14: 195.4

1 week weight loss: 2.6 lbs

Total weight loss: 55 lbs

Really happy. Weight loss is right on track. I've said a number of times that I was really aiming for 10lbs a month and I'm so excited to say that 14 weeks out I'm right on track; a little ahead but not by so much that I feel like I'm losing too fast. It is worth nothing the month to month progression. 25 first month, 15 second, and about 10 the third. Will be interested to see if I stayed on track with a 10 lb loss when I get to month four. If i don't it will be time to kick up the exercise. I've been letting myself completely slack.

I'm almost afraid to write it...but I'm also quite pleased that I haven't hit a stall yet, and no hair loss. I frankly expect both to rear their ugly WLS heads, but I'll take the avoidance of both as nice for now! Enjoy the video...I'm trying to keep them shorter in length (5 mins or so) so we'll see how long that lasts!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Answering reader questions

Hey there! I got the following questions from a blog reader and made a video to respond. Hope this helps, Ashley - best of luck with your surgery with Dr. Aceves! Can't want to hear how it turns out.
  1. In regard to medications... Do they all have to be of a chewable or liquid nature? Can you not take any tiny liquigels? Also, what about OTC pain you crush them up or do you take the children's liquid kind? 
  2. Were you fearful about a US surgeon refusing you if a complication were to arise down the road? I have a friend who is a general surgeon and, in my best interest, was explaining to me that there is a culture among surgeons where they want you to always go back to your bariatric surgeon if any surgery was needed....that they never want to touch a bariatric patient. I've seen on other blogs/forums, however, that there are SOME surgeons who would take a bariatric patient on if their surgeon was overseas, etc. I was just curious of your thoughts on this.
  3. What size bougie did Dr. Aceves use on you? I couldn't remember the bougie size when I did the video but Dr. Aceves uses a 36 bougie and then sutures over the staple line making the sleeve smaller. You can read about the details on bougie size on the Surgeon Questions page on this site.
  4. Even after all of the literature I've come across and was sent to me, I'm still unsure of portion size. As in, when you say that you drink a protein shake each day (especially in those first few weeks), how much do you think you drink in one sitting? And how does the quantity in those first few weeks compare to how much you are able to drink now?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Out of office: Brazil

Well, it's time for another trip. Hoping for the same level of success I had with my trip to South Africa earlier this month. First stop: Sao Paulo, Brazil. Internet speeds should be much improved over Africa, so hoping to not completely fall off the radar. 14 week update is due soon, so watch for more...Jo

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Turkey Chili

Pre-surgery, turkey chili was one of my favorite things to make. Frankly, it was about the only thing I did make. Everything else was takeout. My how things have changed! During my last Sunday cooking fiasco, I decided to make a batch, albeit smaller than I normally would (and I still gave half of it away to new guy...he's clearly benefiting from my small portion size). When I plugged in the nutritional info into myfitnesspal, I was pleasantly surprised. It's definitely one of the highest calorie per serving foods I've made. But I'm trying to be on the higher end of my 600-800 calorie range, not the bottom, so my current diet tolerates it well. I can eat a decent portion size of it (my serving size if about 3/4 of a cup), and it really fills me up and stays with me. You can definitely tweak any of this for what you prefer - particularly recommend trying out different beans and spices. You may also want more chunky tomatoes (I'm not a fan) or veggies like onions, etc. Enjoy!

Crockpot Turkey Chili
I'm sure you could make on the stovetop if you were so inclined. This recipe yielded about 9 cups of chili. It freezes GREAT.
  • Half package of ground turkey
  • Can of kidney or black beans
  • Can of pinto beans
  • Half-can of diced tomatoes or tomato sauce (I used to use a full can of both, but decided to cut it down to a minimum just for some slight tomato flavor)
  • Can of fat free low-sodium beef broth
  • Can of fat free refried beans
  • Chili powder
  • Minced garlic
  • Kosher salt
Brown the ground turkey. Throw it in the crockpot it with all ingredients above, except for refried beans. Put crockpot on low for 8 hours, medium for 6, or high for 4. One hour before it's done, taste and adjust seasonings as necessary and add the can of refried beans. This will give it a yummy thickness.

Spice tips: I like SPICY chili. Seriously, for this recipe I use over half a thing of chili powder (e.g., the normal spice size you get at the market) and could easily add more for my taste. But chili powder can intensify over cooking, so start with a tablespoon or less and check an hour before chili is done. Same thing with garlic. I use a huge heaping tablespoon, but you'll have to play with it. I probably don't do more than a teaspoon of salt, and I only add it towards the end if I think I need it.

I topped with Shelly's Spicy Yogurt Dip from For the new guy, when he was over the other night, I put some of the chili on a toasted onion roll topped with cheddar cheese and yogurt dip and he was in heaven.

Serving size = about 3/4 of a cup, not including yogurt topping

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Travel NSVs

Throughout my 12 days in Africa I experienced a number of "non sleeve victories" (NSVs) that I thought I'd share. They remind me how impactful my weight was on just about every facet of my life!
  • Being stuck in a middle or aisle seat on a small plane flying between cities didn't cause complete panic and wasn't entirely uncomfortable
  • I didn't sweat through my pants while sleeping/sitting on the 15-hour flight over, thus rendering them completely gross and unwearable for the rest of the trip
  • When I forgot to pack clothes that were warm enough I could walk into a regular store and by a North Face fleece, sweatshirt, and long sleeve shirt - this is a serious one for me as it's nearly impossible to find fat clothes overseas
  • When getting a massage, I could wear the normal-person robe and actually tie it around myself, thus avoiding the embarrassing step of asking for a bigger one, or having to wear clothes underneath so I don't flash anyone
  • When it got crowded in the jeep on safari, not only did I not feel cramped and like I was invading the space of others, I actually crossed my legs!
  • While I'm not excited to wear a bathing suit, I was comfortable wearing just a one piece without some big "swim skirt"
  • I wasn't worried about working my day around food. I had my protein shakes, bars, and would simply pick a protein option when the day called for having a meal
  • I saved money by doing a safari where the food was average (I didn't care since my trip wasn't about the food) and alcohol wasn't included (since I don't drink much anymore)
  • Lugging a heavy backpack and suitcase through eight airport trips in 12 days was a non-event
  • I felt more confident in my work meetings since I didn't feel like I was, by far, the largest person in the room (aka the fat american)
Thanks, sleeve. Couldn't have done it without 'ya.

Monday, August 20, 2012

13 Week Update (50 lbs and ONEDERLAND!)

Big, big week folks. You may recall that my 12-week update I was 201.3 and down 49.1 lbs. I could taste the 50 lb and onederland milestones they were so close. I'm very pleased to say that I achieved both this week!! Here's the details:

Surgery day: 250.4
One month 226.1
Two month: 211.8
Three month: 201.3
Week 13: 198

1 week weight loss: 3.3 lbs
Total weight loss: 52.4 lbs

WOO-HOO!! The last time I weighed under 200? For about a day in 2005. Before that? Geez, maybe college. You can imagine that I'm very, very excited by all of this. So much so that I finally decide to clean out the closet and dump the clothes that were too big, or that frankly I always hated but wore because they fit. From here on out I'm wearing things I enjoy. Period. With these milestones I've found that I'm comfortably in a size 16, which is phenomenal. I have a few 16s and 14s in the closet that I'm not quite fitting in to, but that's okay since it means I still probably have another month or two before I really need to go out and buy new clothes. I've been thanking my inner-organizer for boxing up all these clothes for years and years since they're really coming in handy these days.

This doesn't include a third large pile I'd already taken downstairs. Goodbye 18s and 20s. I won't miss you.
Been home from the Africa trip for a week, and quite pleased with how I've been eating. Exercise has been completely nil, so I need to work on that. But, back to getting my calories and protein in. Took me a couple days to get back into tracking everything, but I went back retroactively and I've been on track. And yesterday I even resurrected Sunday cooking day (e.g., the day I cook a bunch of stuff to have things all week), so I was pleased with myself. You can check out the recipe for pizza bites I made, as well as my crockpot turkey chili. Yum, yum, yum. This week's video is a little long to make up for the fact that it'd been a few weeks since I made one. Watch till the end for body shot, stomach scars, and loose arm skin...yay! Later, Jo

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pizza Bites

I discovered my love of "bites" (aka crustless quiches) early on. My first experiment was buffalo chicken bites and they've stayed one of my favorite things. I can't take credit for the bites - that goes to Eggface's famous bites - but the great thing is that you can put pretty much anything in them. I'm a huge fan of recipes that involve minimal ingredients, and these hit the mark. I'd previously bought ingredients for pepperoni flatout bread pizza and had leftover cheese and pepperoni. I'm leaving town this weekend again and don't want to have a lot of food left in the fridge, so decided to make pizza bites. As usual, quite yummy and reheat great. I had one for dinner last night, and another for a mid-afternoon snack at work today. I even dropped a few off at the new guy's house and received a "delicious" text, so they're guy and non-WLS approved! I'm a pretty simple cook, so my recipe is equally simple. If you want something with more flare (and ingredients), you can check out Eggface's pizza bite recipe as well.

Pizza Bites (recipe yielded 10 "bites")

24 pieces of turkey pepperoni
3 eggs (If I used 4 eggs I probably would have had an even dozen bites)
1/4 cup pre-made pizza sauce (I like Prego)
1-2 cloves minced garlic
Italian seasoning
1/4 shredded cheese (I used pre-shredded 4 cheese pizza blend)

Crucial first step: grease the mini-muffin tin well...otherwise they will stick! Set aside one piece of pepperoni per bite. Chop the rest into small pieces. Whisk chopped pepperoni with remaining ingredients, except for the cheese. Fill mini-muffin tins half way. Put in shredded cheese and fill muffin tins to top. Bake for 20 minutes at 350. After 20 minutes, place one slice of pepperoni on each bite and cook for 5 more minutes. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Flatout Bread Pizza

If you haven't tried flatout bread yet, you've got to read my post from last month about it. Nutritionally, I've found it to be better than a whole wheat or low-carb tortilla for pizza-making purposes. Previously I could only eat about 1/6 of one in a sitting. Now I can do about 1/4, but nutritionally still pretty good.

Following on the success of taco pizza, I made two new ones this week. Normally I just cook for myself, but I made these on date night with the new guy, to rave reviews. Today I got a text saying he'd gone home and repeated the recipe himself he liked it so much. So, at least I'm not the only one that things they're super-yummy! I've included nutritional info for the pepperoni, but didn't get around to the buffalo chicken. It's probably pretty close. I used one flatbread, cut it in half, and made a different kind of pizza on each half. Enjoy.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza
  • Buffalo wing sauce (I love Archer Farms from Target)
  • Canned chicken
  • Ranch dressing powder mix
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (or other cheese if you prefer)
  • Flatout bread (or tortilla)
Spray bottom of flatout bread with cooking spray. Coat flatout bread (or tortilla) with wing sauce. In a bowl, mix canned chicken with a bit of wing sauce and ranch dressing mix to taste (1/2 - 1 tsp). Cover the flatout bread with the chicken mixture. Top with cheddar cheese. Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes.

Pepperoni Pizza
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup pizza sauce (I like Prego)
  • Turkey pepperoni (I also threw on some leftover sausage)
  • Shredded four-cheese pizza blend or mozzarella
  • Italian seasoning
  • Flatout bread (or tortilla)
Spray bottom of flatout bread with cooking spray. Coat flatout bread (or tortilla) with pizza sauce. Top with pepperoni or other meat/toppings. Top with cheese. Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes.

Nutritional info is for 1/4 of a flatout bread (e.g., 1/2 of the pepperoni one picture above)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

African Safari

Thought I'd post some favorite pictures from my african safari. I tacked it on to the end of a work trip in Johannesburg, and it was AMAZING. What a great experience. And so happy that, even with 12 days of eating out throughout South Africa, I came up 4.6 lbs lighter than when I left. Fabulous!

You'd think it would be warm, right? Not in the morning!
No safari would be complete without at least one spa treatment, right? Spa @ the main lodge.
Catching some African rays at the pool at my game lodge

Monday, August 13, 2012

12 Week Update

Just a quick post - I made it home. And, after twelve or so days in South Africa, I didn't gain weight. Even better...I lost!! I was scared there for a while. Here's the stats:

Surgery day: 250.4
Week 2: 232.1
Week 3: 228.7
Week 4: 226.1
Week 5.5: 219.7
Week 6: 218.5
Week 7: 215
Week 8: 211.8
Week 9: 208.9
Week 10: 206
Week 11: scale in South Africa!
Week 12: 201.3
2 week weight loss: 4.7 lbs
Total weight loss: 49.1 lbs

Some trip stats. I left town on a Thursday weighing 205.9. I came back a week and a half later on a Monday to 201.3. Losing 4.6 lbs on the trip was super exciting! I've got two weeks before leaving town on another trip. 50 lbs and onederland....I'M COMING FOR YOU.

Shrinking me enjoying Camps Bay near Cape Town, South Africa (it's winter there, hence the scarf ;)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Out of Africa

Made it to Africa yesterday and enjoying the sites. Managed to remember all my vitamins, except for calcium. Oops. Lots of eating out, but so far, so good. Maybe a little more quantity than normal, but since I'm currently in Cape Town, there's tons of seafood options. Lots of salmon sashimi! Blog posts may slow down a bit, but will try to post some of my food choices when I can. Best, gastricsleeve4me

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Creamy Guacamole

I always enjoyed avocados, but have been eating more of them post-sleeve. I wanted to try out guacamole and modified a recipe I'd found on another blog. I went a little less fancy, but the result was easy and delish. Enjoy.

Creamy Guacamole
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2-3 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
  • .5 - 1 teaspoons guacamole seasoning (usually found in produce section near avocados)
  • Minced garlic
  • Hot sauce (I love Cholula)
  • Lime juice
  • Kosher salt
Mash 1/2 an avocado. Mix in greek yogurt and remaining ingredients/seasonings. Chill for 30-60 minutes before serving to allow flavors to mix. Serve with brown rice crackers, pita chips, or as a topping for taco pizza, enchiladas, and more!

Experiment with the seasonings. I like the pre-made guacamole seasoning and could probably get away without anything else - or use the other seasonings and skip the mix, but I like to experiment with the flavors. I'm not a cilantro fan, but that would be another one to try.